Avoiding disease spread when pruning sweet Cherry

Asked March 30, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT

I would like to start pruning a 23 year old sweet cherry tree that has never been pruned. There are a number of limbs that I would like to remove, including one 6" diameter limb that I would like to remove to open up the center and also to lower the height of the tree. I have read somewhere that dormant pruning for sweet cherries leaves them susceptible to fungal and bacterial disease. If this is the case, should I wait until the summer to prune this tree. Also, is there anything I can do for the pruning cuts that would inhibit the spread of disease on this tree?
Thank you

Frederick County Maryland

1 Response

In general March is a good time to prune fruit trees. Stone fruits can be pruned through the bloom period and It is okay to prune now.
Sweet cherry is usually pruned to a central leader system. (See Pome fruits: Pruning and Training.) https://extension.umd.edu/growit/fruit-profiles/apples

No chemical control is recommended or pruning paint as it can interfere with the healing process. See the link from Virginia Tech for more information on sweet cherries https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/422/422-018/422-018.html